Shrimp farming in Honduras

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While shrimp aquaculture has provided economic options in developing Latin American countries, the industry creates some environmental and social problems. Mangrove destruction degrades water quality, reduces habitat for fish (pitting shrimp farmers against those whose livelihood depends on fishing), increases the risk of inland flooding, and displaces coastal communities.

Eutrophication can also occur.

The ponds themselves can contaminate the surrounding environment with too many nutrients (from fish meal fed to the shrimp), waste, and antibiotic residues.

Shrimp farming can affect other fisheries as well.

Also, the industry relies heavily on wild-caught shrimp, either larvae that have reached a given level of maturity or else pregnant females, which are transferred to the protected ponds. When done on industrial scale, the harvesting of wild shrimp in the Gulf can harm other fisheries because the nets pull up fish or other aquatic creatures that die and are discarded. National and international programs are underway to make shrimp farming both economically viable and more environmentally sound.

Where do the shrimps we find in Singapore come from?
Are they farmed sustainably? Or do the same problems seen in Honduras occur?

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Why the South China Sea matters – Part 2 of the South China Sea dispute

A continuation from the Spratly Islands dispute post

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Nat Geo Reporter Rachel Bale reports her investigation into giant clam poachers on reefs in the South China Sea, like those on the Spratly Islands, in the video below:

In 2012 Philippine authorities found a Chinese fishing boat loaded with corals, live sharks, and giant clam shells at Scarborough Shoal, some 138 miles (220 kilometers) from the Philippine coast.

The government contacted Gomez with a question. Why in the world would the Chinese have so many giant clam shells? Gomez didn’t know, but he soon found out. A friend gave him a tip, advising him to visit the port town of Tanmen, on the island of Hainan.

When he got there, he was flabbergasted: “Rows and rows of shops selling nothing but giant clam carvings, giant clam shells, and corals,” he says. “There must have been, I would guess, a mile and a half of stores.”

It turned out that the giant clam handicraft market in China had exploded, and the South China Sea was its epicenter.

By the late 1990s Hainan fishermen had overfished their coastal waters. Their catches were getting smaller, and they were looking for ways to supplement their income, says Zhang Hongzhou, a research fellow at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

The government helped them out with a special fuel subsidy to travel more than 500 miles (800 kilometers) south to the Spratly Islands, as well as subsidies for bigger and better boats.

Source: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/08/wildlife-giant-clam-poaching-south-china-sea-destruction/

Sustainable farming practices – No-till farming

The image above (Source) shows how no-till farms look like. See the dried up weeds/ plants between the rows.

The video starts on a no-till field — one that isn’t ever plowed. Instead of tilling, or turning over the soil to kill weeds, farmers plant directly into the thatch of grasses and usually use an application of herbicide to knock down weeds. When farmers leave fields bare, like in the other field, soil washes away and local waters are polluted.

Groundcover protects the soil and dramatically reduces erosion. People often think sustainable farming means no chemicals, but sometimes judicious use of chemistry allows for more environmentally friendly options — like keeping the ground covered.

Click below for video.

Source: http://grist.org/briefly/a-clear-contrast-of-sustainable-and-unsustainable-farming-practices-in-20-seconds/

Cod fishing and Bottom Trawling – destructive fishing methods

We’re here to witness and photograph fishing boats moving into these waters and to advance a discussion about limits. As the Arctic is warming, fish like cod and many others are moving north. Factory-sized trawlers are coming for them in areas they hadn’t fished before. They drag huge bag-shaped nets along the seafloor, plowing through, catching what’s in their path, their nets crushing delicate corals and many soft-bodied creatures that live on and in the seabed and that provide shelter for young fishes and food for the fish, including the cod, that humans like to eat.

These are the big, big trawlers like the ones that helped demolish the cod of New England and the Grand Banks in the 1970s. Those fish populations have never recovered.

The Truth About Bottom Trawling from Greenpeace USA on Vimeo.

Source: NatGeo Voices

Where Cod can be found. (Source:http://www.seaproductswest.com)
Not anywhere near Singapore.

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Why should people from far away care? Because we’re not really far away and we’re all involved in the changes here. What people in the world’s great cities do is causing the changes to climate, ice, sea acidity, and the shifting ranges of the fishes. What people far away choose to eat determines the intensity of the fishing here.

Its not about abstaining from cod, but about promoting sustainble fishing practices – bottom trawling is not one of them.

So that we can continue to enjoy codfish…

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